When people hear the phrase, "the body of Christ" some think it refers to the literal body of Jesus like the one he had while on the earth. The term actually refers to the members of his church throughout history. Therefore every Christian is a part of the body of Christ. Just like a human body, the body of Christ is made up of many different parts but all are meant to function together in unity. Limbs, when left alone are useless but when they come together there is movement and purpose. The ultimate purpose of every Christian is to glorify God. Imagine the power that comes from a church that functions as a whole unit with every body part in its place. Sadly, the Corinthian Christians were a bunch of separated limbs. I'm not sure where it was first told, but the story below sums it up well...
A carpenter’s tools were having a conference. Brother Hammer was presiding, but the others informed him that he’d have to leave because he was too noisy. "All right," he said, "I’ll go, but Brother Plane must withdraw too. There’s no depth to his work. It’s always on the surface." Brother Plane responded, "Well, Brother Rule will also have to go too. He’s constantly measuring people as if he were the only one who’s right." Brother Rule then complained about Brother Sandpaper, saying, "He’s rougher than he ought to be. He’s very abrasive and he's always rubbing people the wrong way." Brother Sandpaper was annoyed by Brother Saw, claiming that he had a very sharp and cutting personality. Brother Saw leveled his criticism at Brother Level, saying that he always tends to blame others for being crooked and unbalanced. Brother Level had a major problem with Brother Hand Drill, accusing him of coming along and sticking his long penetrating nose into other people's business. And wouldn't you know it, Brother Hand Drill was really bothered by Brother Clamp because Brother Clamp always seemed so uptight and never seemed relaxed. In the midst of this bitter discussion, the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in. He spoke sternly to all the tools, rebuked them, and told them to hold their peace. He shared with them that everyone of them had a purpose and that they were uniquely made to fulfill that purpose. He told them that everyone of them was important and had a special job to do. The Carpenter told them that He needed every one of them in order to do His work. He then went to His workbench to make a pulpit from which to preach the gospel. He used the hammer, the plane, the rule, the sandpaper, the saw, the level, the hand drill and the clamp. Not one tool was untouched or unused. After the pulpit was finished, Brother Rule arose and said, "I see now that all of us are laborers together with God." There's no such thing as an unemployed Christian in the church. We all have something to contribute and we all need each other to accomplish the work God has for us!
1) Let us review again the teaching on communication in the Exemplary Husband book as the instructions for communication moving forward . . . “but speaking the truth in love” [Ephesians 4:15]. We ought to maintain a high level of biblical communication in our interaction as brothers.
2) Let us remind ourselves again of how we ought to relate and interact as brothers with the instructions by the Apostle Paul, “[I] urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Ephesians 4:1-3] We ought to walk with one another in such ways in which we live our calling and behave with such diligence.
3) Let us remind ourselves of remaining devoted to prayer to God, especially praying for another as the writer of Hebrews says, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.” [Hebrews 13:19] We ought to pray for one another as brothers because of each of our responsibilities, concerns, problems, burdens, struggles, battles, failures, and sins. We need to pray for one another both privately and publicly, personally and presently, fervently and humbly.
4) Let us remind ourselves of what the Lord has done and what we believe He does do . . . “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” [Ephesians 3:20-21] We ought to speak forth this belief in the matters we are responsible as brothers giving thanks to Him when He does show Himself in our midst as Him who is able to do.
5) Let us remind ourselves of the importance of the work of the Spirit of God in our lives as brothers and the life of the ministry of New Life Fellowship. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.” [Galatians 5:16-17] We ought to walk in dependence upon the Spirit of God desiring the fruit of the Spirit brought forth in our discussions so that any conflict, disagreement, complaint, and sin do not manifest any of the deeds of the flesh.
6) Let us remind ourselves of the need in each of our lives for the confession of sin, repentance of sin, and faith in the Lord as we were given as a church body during our time at the Communion table on Sunday. We ought to live the Christian life as one examined by the Spirit of God bowing at the foot of the cross being those who are asking forgiveness from the Lord and from one another as sinners saved by grace.
Heavenly Father, we come before you today on behalf of those who are fainthearted and discouraged. We ask that you lift up their heads and fill their hearts with hope and joy.
Lord, we acknowledge that life in this fallen world can be difficult and challenging. We pray for those who are struggling with sickness, financial problems, family issues, and other trials. Please strengthen them in their inner being and give them the courage to persevere.
We know that you are the God of all comfort and that you are close to the brokenhearted. We pray that those who are feeling discouraged and despairing would sense your loving presence and know that you are with them in the midst of their suffering.
Lord, we ask that you give them the grace to persevere in faith. May they hold fast to you and find their hope and strength in you alone. May they be reminded of the promises in your Word and know that you are faithful to fulfill them.
We pray that they would find encouragement and support from their brothers and sisters in Christ. May the body of Christ surround them with love and care, and may they experience the power of community in times of trial.
Lord, we ask that you renew their minds and hearts with your truth. May they be reminded that in Christ, they are more than conquerors, and that nothing can separate them from your love. May they find peace and rest in you, and know that you are their refuge and strength.
Above all, we pray that they would fix their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith. May they be filled with his love and grace, and find comfort and hope in his sacrifice on the cross.
We ask all these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world. Amen.
Scripture Verse: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean In its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me, Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward,
To my glorious rest above.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore
How He watches o'er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o'er them from the throne.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus! Love of every love the best
'Tis an ocean vast of blessing, 'Tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus! 'Tis a heaven of heavens to me
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee.
Words: Samuel Trevor Francis Music: Thomas Williams
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.